Tuesday 5th July
Start: Bushcamp, mile 1872
End: Crescent Lake campground, OST mile 9.2
Laying in bed last night I had been mentally planning breakfast. This to me indicates that the dehydrated chicken noodles we shared last night just didn’t cut it after such a gruelling day. This morning breakfast was so good! We were camping up on the ridge of Tolo Mountain, so it was really cold. Along with our morning coffee I begun throwing everything we had into a pan of warm milk (powdered obviously)! The result was granola, with chocolate milk, nuts, raisins, banana chips, and a muesli bar. It kept us going all morning!
Finally a day without snow! Less than 2 miles from camp we crossed paths with our first fellow English hiker. He had seen Dan camping at the intersection with the next forest road 4 miles ahead. I knew it!
At the same intersection we turned off the PCT onto a popular alternative trail – the Oregon Skyline Trail (OST), which would take us to our next resupply point 20 miles ahead. Finally it felt like we were hiking the Oregon we had expected. I felt like I was flying along with no snow, and only minimal blow downs to navigate. We had our usual pace, passing through a much less dense spindly pine forest.
The hike felt enjoyable. At last! We passed a handful of silent alpine lakes, surrounded by trees, with crystal clear water. It would have been perhaps idyllic had it not been for… Yep, the mosquitos! Hounded every time we stopped.
We arrived at the National Forest Service campground at Crescent Lake just before 2pm. We could possibly have pushed ourselves to reach Shelter Cove today, but we decided to take the afternoon off and enjoy relaxing by a lake! The campground was deserted, except for the lady host who was pretty stand-offish with us at first. When we started putting our shoes back on to leave she changed her tune and kindly let us stay the night for free. Today’s trail magic! This made up our mind to stay and not hike on any further – well there is a picnic table and a water tap – what luxuries!
We are camped 100 feet from the lake amongst impossibly tall, skinny pines swaying in the wind. I really hope none of them fall on our tent tonight! We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging around the small stony beach, washing in the lake, and sitting in our underwear while our clothes dried. Quote of the day from Conrad (which nearly made me spit my instant mashed potato out in laughter): “maybe we’re just not outdoors people”! Ha!